top science fiction authors choose the
best stories they ever wrote
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OSCAR J. FRIE
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As selected by
LEO MARGULIES and OSCAR J. FRIEND
POCKET BOOKS, INC. ♦ NEW YORK, N. Y.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .......... iv
INTRODUCTION ............. vii
ROBOT AL 76 GOES ASTRAY
author's introduction * . . 1
STORY • • . . 3
THE TEACHER FROM MARS
author's introduction . . - 18
author's introduction 37
John W . Campbell, Jr.
author's introduction 60
THE INN OUTSIDE THE WORLD
author's introduction 80
DON'T LOOK NOW
author's introduction 98
THE LOST RACE
author's introduction 114
DOCTOR GRIMSHAW'S SANITARIUM
author's introduction . . 139
THE ULTIMATE CATALYST
authors introduction 156
A. E. Van Vogt
author's introduction 183
SPACE STATION NO. 1
Manly Wade Wellman
author's introduction 212
author's introduction 232
WHY I SELECTED
DON'T LOOK NOW
Why I selected don't look now as my favorite science'
fiction story is because it has the technical accuracy of Jules
Verne, the realism of H. G. Wells, the social implications of
Tolstoi (Leo— the Count, I mean), the freedom of Laurence
Sterne, and the terseness of the Bible (the King James trans-
lation, of course). Moreover, I can honestly say it is my fa-
vorite story because I have reread all my others, on publica-
tion, and they disgusted me. For one reason or another, I
didn't get around to rereading don't look now, and can
therefore regard it with the unbiased, critical, gemlike eye
of the happy creator.
As everyone knows who has ever written— and who hasn't?
—the actual process of writing generally causes a state of
psychopathic euphoria to set in. During literary gestation, the
writer knows perfectly well that this yarn is the best he's ever
written, and very likely the best anybody's ever written. This
state of self-adulation may last for an indefinite period. In my
case, unfortunately, it seldom does. If I didn't maintain it
artificially, by cheers, cries of "Bravo!" and a built-in self-
reflexive claque, I probably would never submit a finished
story to an editor. I would just tear it and myself, up.
But luckily I have not reread don't look now since it was
written, so I can very fairly say it's my favorite yarn.
Anyway, my wife wrote it.
DON'T LOOK NOW
That Man Beside You May Be a Martian.
They Own Our World, but Only a Few Wise
and Far-Seeing Men Like Lyman Know It!
XHE man in the brown suit was looking at himself in the
mirror behind the bar. The reflection seemed to interest him
even more deeply than the drink between his hands. He was
paying only perfunctory attention to Lyman's attempts at con-
versation. This had been going on for perhaps fifteen minutes
before he finally lifted his glass and took a deep swallow.
"Don't look now," Lyman said.
The brown man slid his eyes sidewise toward Lyman, tilted
his glass higher, and took another swig. Ice-cubes slipped
down toward his mouth. He put the glass back on the red-
brown wood and signaled for a refill. Finally he took a deep
breath and looked at Lyman.
"Don't look at what?" he asked.
"There was one sitting right beside you," Lyman said,
blinking rather glazed eyes. "He just went out. You mean you
couldn't see him?"
The brown man finished paying for his fresh drink before
he answered. "See who?" he asked, with a fine mixture of
boredom, distaste and reluctant interest. "Who went out?"
"What have I been telling you for the last ten minutes?
Weren't you listening?"
100 MY BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORY
"Certainly I was listening. That is— certainly. You were talk-
ing about— bathtubs. Radios. Orson—"
"Not Orson. H. G. Herbert George. With Orson it was just
a gag. H. G. knew— or suspected. I wonder if it was simply
intuition with him? He couldn't have had any proof— but he
did stop writing science fiction rather suddenly, didn't he?
I'll bet he knew once, though."
"About the Martians. All this won't do us a bit of good if
you don't listen. It may not anyway. The trick is to jump the
gun— with proof. Convincing evidence. Nobody's ever been
allowed to produce the evidence before. You are Q. reporter,
aren t your
Holding his glass, the man in the . brown suit nodded
"Then you ought to be taking it all down on a piece of
folded paper. I want everybody to know. The whole world.
It's important. Terribly important. It explains everything. My
life won't be safe unless I can pass along the information and
make people believe it."
"Why won't your life be safe?"
"Because of the Martians, you fool. They own the world."
The brown man sighed. "Then they own my newspaper,
too," he objected, "so I can't print anything they don't like."
"I never thought of that," Lyman said, considering the bot-
tom of his glass, where two ice-cubes had fused into a cold,
immutable union. "They're not omnipotent, though. I'm sure
they're vulnerable, or why have they always kept under
cover? They're afraid of being found out. If the world had
convincing evidence— look, people always believe what they
read in the newspapers. Couldn't you—"
"Ha," said the brown man with deep significance.
Lyman drummed sadly on the bar and murmured, "There
must be some way. Perhaps if I had another drink. . . ."
The brown-suited man tasted his collins, which seemed to
stimulate him. "Just what is all this about Martians?" he asked
Lyman. "Suppose you start at the beginning and tell me
again. Or can't you remember?"
don't look now
"Of course I can remember. I've got practically total recall.
It's something new. Very new. I never could do it before. I
can even remember my last conversation with the Martians."
Lyman favored the brown man with a glance of triumph.
"When was that?"
"I can even remember conversations I had last week," the
brown man said mildly. "So what?"
"You don't understand. They make us forget, you see. They
. tell us what to do and we forget about the conversation— it's
post-hypnotic suggestion, I expect— but we follow their orders
just the same. There's the compulsion, though we think we're
making our own decisions. Oh, they own the world, all right,
but nobody knows it except me."
"And how did you find out?"
"Well, I got my brain scrambled, in a way. I've been fool-
ing around with supersonic detergents, trying to work out
something marketable, you know. The gadget went wrong—
from some standpoints. High-frequency waves, it was. They
went through and through me. Should have been inaudible,
but I could hear them, or rather— well, actually I could see
them. That's what I mean about my brain being scrambled.
And after that, I could see and hear the Martians. They've
geared themselves so they work efficiently on ordinary brains,
and mine isn't ordinary any more. They can't hypnotize me,
either. They can command me, but I needn't obey— now. I
hope they don't suspect. Maybe they do. Yes, I guess they
«tt . nrvw
How can you tell? :
"The way they look at me."
"How do they look at you?" asked the brown man, as he
began to reach for a pencil and then changed his mind. He
took a drink instead. "Well? What are they like?"
"I'm not sure. I can see them, all right, but only when
they're dressed up."
"Okay, okay," the brown man said patiently. "How do they
look, dressed up?"
"Just like anybody, almost. They dress up in— in human
102 MY BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORY
skins. Oh, not real ones, imitations. Like the Katzenjammer
Kids zipped into crocodile suits. Undressed— I don't know.
I've never seen one. Maybe they're invisible even to me,
then, or maybe they're just camouflaged. Ants or owls or rats
or bats or-
Or anything," the brown man said hastily.
"Thanks. Or anything, of course. But when they're dressed
up like humans— like that one who was sitting next to you
awhile ago, when I told you not to look—"
"That one was invisible, I gather?"
"Most of the time they are, to everybody. But once in a
while, for some reason, they—"
"Wait," the brown man objected. "Make sense, will you?
They dress up in human skins and then sit around invisible?"
"Only now and then. The human skins are perfectly good
imitations. Nobody can tell the difference. It's that third eye
that gives them away. When they keep it closed, you'd never
guess it was there. When they want to open it, they go invisi-
ble—like that. Fast. When I see somebody with a third eye,
right in the middle of his forehead, I know he's a Martian
and invisible, and I pretend not to notice him."
"Uh-huh," the brown man said. "Then for all you know, I'm
one of your visible Martians."
"Oh, I hope not!" Lyman regarded him anxiously. "Drunk
as I am, I don't think so. I've been trailing you all day, mak-
ing sure. It's a risk I have to take, of course. They'll go to any
length— any length at all— to make a man give himself away.
I realize that. I can't really trust anybody. But I had to find
someone to talk to, and I—" He paused. There was a brief
silence. "I could be wrong," Lyman said presently. "When
the third eye's closed, I can't tell if it's there. Would you
mind opening your third eye for me?" He fixed a dim gaze on
the brown man's forehead.
"Sorry," the reporter said. "Some other time. Besides, I
don't know you. So you want me to splash this across the
front page, I gather? Why didn't you go to see the managing
editor? My stories have to get past the desk and rewrite."
"I want to give my secret to the world," Lyman said stub-
DON T LOOK NOW
bornly. "The question is, how far will I get? You'd expect
they'd have killed me the minute I opened my mouth to you—
except that I didn't say anything while they were here. I don't
believe they take us very seriously, you know. This must have
been going on since the dawn of history, and by now they've
had time to get careless. They let Fort go pretty far before
they cracked down on him. But you notice they were careful
never to let Fort get hold of genuine proof that would con-
The brown man said something under his breath about a
human interest story in a box. He asked, "What do the Mar-
tians do, besides hang around bars all dressed up?"
"I'm still working on that," Lyman said. "It isn't easy to
understand. They run the world, of course, but why?" He
wrinkled his brow and stared appealingly at the brown man.
If they do run it, they've got a lot to explain."
That's what I mean. From our viewpoint, there's no sense
to it. We do things illogically, but only because they tell us
to. Everything we do, almost, is pure illogic. Poe's Imp of
the Perverse— you could give it another name beginning with
M. Martian, I mean. It's all very well for psychologists to
explain why a murderer wants to confess, but it's still an
illogical reaction. Unless a Martian commands him to."
"You can't be hypnotized into doing anything that violates
your moral sense," the brown man said triumphantly.
Lyman frowned. "Not by another human, but you can by a
Martian. I expect they got the upper hand when we didn't
have more than ape-brains, and they've kept it ever since.
They evolved as we did, and kept a step ahead. Like the spar-
row on the eagle's back who hitch-hiked till the eagle reached
his ceiling, and then took off and broke the altitude record.
They conquered the world, but nobody ever knew it. And
they've been ruling ever since."
Take houses, for example. Uncomfortable things. Ugly,
inconvenient, dirty, everything wrong with them. But when
men like Frank Lloyd Wright slip out from under the Mar-
104 MY BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORY
tians' thumb long enough to suggest something better, look
how the people react. They hate the thought. That's their
Martians, giving them orders/*
"Look. Why should the Martians care what kind of houses
we live in? Tell me that."
Lyman frowned. "I don't like the note of skepticism I de-
tect creeping into this conversation," he announced. "They
care, all right. No doubt about it. They live in our houses. We
don't build for our convenience, we build, under order, for
the Martians, the way they want it. They're very much con-
cerned with everything we do. And the more senseless, the
"Take wars. Wars don't make sense from any human view-
point. Nobody really wants wars. But we go right on having
them. From the Martian viewpoint, they're useful. They give
us a spurt in technology, and they reduce the excess popula-
tion. And there are lots of other results, too. Colonization, for
one thing. But mainly technology. In peace time, if a guy
invents jet-propulsion, it's too expensive to develop commer-
cially. In war-time, though, it's got to be developed. Then the
Martians can use it whenever they want. They use us the way
they'd use tools or— or limbs. And nobody ever really wins a
war— except the Martians."
The man in the brown suit chuckled. "That makes sense,"
he said. "It must be nice to be a Martian. 1
jaia. it must oe nice to oe a Martian."
Why not? Up till now, no race ever successfully conquered
and ruled another. The underdog could revolt or absorb. If
you know you're being ruled, then the ruler's vulnerable. But
if the world doesn't know— and it doesn't—
"Take radios," Lyman continued, going off at a tangent.
"There's no earthly reason why a sane human should listen to
a radio. But the Martians make us do it. They like it. Take
bathtubs. Nobody contends bathtubs are comfortable— for us.
But they're fine for Martians. All the impractical things we
keep on using, even though we know they're impractical—"
"Typewriter ribbons," the brown man said, struck by the
thought. "But not even a Martian could enjoy changing a
' typewriter ribbon."
DONT LOOK NOW 105
Lyman seemed to find that flippant. He said that he knew
all about the Martians except for one thing— their psychology.
"I don't know why they act as they do. It looks illogical
sometimes, but I feel perfectly sure they've got sound motives
for every move they make. Until I get that worked out I'm
pretty much at a standstill. Until I get evidence— proof— and
help. I've got to stay under cover till then. And I've been
doing that. I do what they tell me, so they won't suspect,
and I pretend to forget what they tell me to forget."
"Then you've got nothing much to worry about."
Lyman paid no attention. He was off again on a list of his
"When I hear the water running in the tub and a Martian
splashing around, I pretend I don't hear a thing. My bed's too
short and I tried last week to order a special length, but the
Martian that sleeps there told me not to. He's a runt, like most
of them. That is, I think they're runts. I have to deduce,
because you never see them undressed. But it goes on like
that constantly. By the way, how's your Martian?"
The man in the brown suit set down his glass rather sud-
"Now listen. I may be just a little bit drunk, but my logic
remains unimpaired. I can still put two and two together.
Either you know about the Martians, or you don't. If you do,
there's no point in giving me that, 'What, my Martian? 7 rou-
tine. I know you have a Martian. Your Martian knows you
have a Martian. My Martian knows. The point is, do you
know? Think hard," Lyman urged solicitously.
"No, I haven't got a Martian," the reporter said, taking a
quick drink. The edge of the glass clicked against his teeth.
"Nervous, I see," Lyman remarked. "Of course you have
got a Martian. I suspect you know it."
"What would I be doing with a Martian?" the brown man
asked with dogged dogmatism.
"What would you be doing without one? I imagine it's
illegal. If they caught you running around without one they'd
probably put you in a pound or something until claimed. Oh,
106 MY BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORY
you've got one, all right. So have I. So has he, and he, and
he— and the bartender." Lyman enumerated the other bar-
flies, with a wavering forefinger.
'Of course s they have," the brown man said. "But they'll all
go back to Mars tomorrow and then you can see a good doc-
tor. You'd better have another dri— "
He was turning toward the bartender when Lyman, appar-
ently by accident, leaned close to him and whispered ur-
"Don't look now!"
The brown man glanced at Lyman's white face reflected
in the mirror before them.
"It's all right," he said. "There aren't any Mar-"
Lyman gave him a fierce, quick kick under the edge of t
"Shut up! One just came in!"
And then he caught the brown man's gaze and with elabo-
rate unconcern said, "—so naturally, there was nothing for_me
to do but climb out on the roof after it. Took me ten minutes
to get it down the ladder, and just as we reached the bottom
it gave one bound, climbed up my face, sprang from the top
of my head, and there it was again on the roof, screaming for
me to get it
"What?" the brown man demanded with pardonable curi-
"My cat, of course. What did you think? No, never mind,
don't answer that." Lyman's face was turned to the brown
man's, but from the corners of his eyes he was watching an
invisible progress down the length of the bar toward a booth
at the very back.
"Now why did he come in?" he murmured. "I don't like
this. Is he anyone you know?'
"That Martian. Yours, by any chance? No, I suppose not.
Yours was probably the one who went out a while ago. I won-
der if he went to make a report, and sent this one in? It's
possible. It could be. You can talk now, but keep your voice
DONT LOOS NOW
low, and stop squirming. Want him to notice we can see
"I can't see him. Don't drag me into this. You and your
Martians can fight it out together. You're making me nervous.
I ve got to go, anyway." But he didn't move to get off the
stool. Across Lyman's shoulder he was stealing glances toward
the back of the bar, and now and then he looked at Lyman's
Stop watching me," Lyman said. "Stop watching him.
Anybody'd think you were a cat."
"Why a cat? Why should anybody— do I look like a cat?"
"We were talking about cats, weren't we? Cats can see
them, quite clearly. Even undressed, I believe. They don't
"Who doesn't like who?"
"Whom. Neither likes the other. Cats can see Martians—
sh-h!— but they pretend not to, and that makes the Martians
mad. I have a theory that cats ruled the world before Mar-
tians came. Never mind. Forget about cats. This may be more
serious than you think. I happen to know my Martian's takin;
tonight off, and I'm pretty sure that was your Martian who
went out some time ago. And have you noticed that nobody
else in here has his Martian with him? Do you suppose—" His
voice sank. "Do you suppose they could be waiting for us
"Oh, Lord," the brown man said. "In the alley with the
cats, I suppose."
"Why don't you stop this yammer about cats and be serious
for a moment?" Lyman demanded, and then paused, paled,
and reeled slightly on his stool. He hastily took a drink to
cover his confusion.
What's the matter now?" the brown man asked.
! Nothing." Gulp. "Nothing. It was just that— he looked at
me. With— you know."
"Let me get this straight. I take it the Martian is dressed
in— is dressed like a human?"
"But he's invisible to all eyes but yours?"
108 MY BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORY
"Yes. He doesn't want to be visible, just now. Besides—"
Lyman paused cunningly. He gave the brown man a furtive
glance and then looked quickly down at his drink. "Besides,
you know, I rather think you can see him— a little, anyway."
The brown man was perfectly silent for about thirty sec-
onds. He sat quite motionless, not even the ice in the drink
he held clinking. One might have thought he did not even
breathe. Certainly he did not blink.
"What makes you think that?" he asked in a normal voice,
after the thirty seconds had run out.
"I— did I say anything? I wasn't listening." Lyman put
down his drink abruptly. "I think I'll go now."
. "No, you won't," the brown man said, closing his fingers
around Lyman's wrist. "Not yet you won't. - Come back here.
Sit down. Now. What was the idea? Where were you going?"
Lyman nodded dumbly toward the back of the bar, indi-
cating either a juke-box or a door marked MEN.
"I don't feel so good. Maybe I've had too much to drink.
I guess I'll-" -
"You're all right. I don't trust you back there with that—
that invisible man of yours. You'll stay right here until he
"He's going now," Lyman said brightly. His eyes moved
with great briskness along the line of an invisible but rapid
progress toward the front door. "See, he's gone. Now let me
loose, will you?"
The brown man glanced toward the back booth.
"No," he said, "he isn't gone. Sit right where you are."
It was Lyman's turn to remain quite still, in a stricken sort
of way, for a perceptible while. The ice in his drink, however,
clinked audibly. Presently he spoke. His voice was soft, and
rather soberer than before.
"You're right. He's still there. You can see him, can't you?"
The brown man said, "Has he got his back to us?"
"You can see him, then. Better than I can maybe. Maybe
there are more of them here than I thought. They could be
anywhere. They could be sitting beside you anywhere you
go, and you wouldn't even guess, until—" He shook his head a
DON T LOOK NOW
little. "They'd want to be sure," he said, mostly to himself.
"They can give you orders and make you forget, but there
must be limits to what they can force you to do. They can't
make a man betray himself. They'd have to lead him on—
until they were sure."
He lifted his drink and tipped it steeply above his face. The
ice ran down the slope and bumped coldly against his lip, but
he held it until the last of the pale, bubbling amber had
drained into his mouth. He set the glass on the bar and faced
the brown man.
"Well?" he said.
The brown man looked up and down the bar.
"It's getting late," he said. "Not many people left. We'll
"Wait for what?"
The brown man looked toward the back booth and looked
away again quickly.
"I have something to show you. I don't want anyone else
Lyman surveyed the narrow, smoky room. As he looked the
last customer beside themselves at the bar began groping in
his pocket, tossed^some change on the mahogany, and went
They sat in silence. The bartender eyed them with stolid
disinterest. Presently a couple in the front booth got up and
departed, quarreling in undertones.
"Is there anyone left?" the brown man asked in a voice that
did not carry down the bar to the man in the apron,
"Only—" Lyman did not finish, but he nodded gently to-
ward the back of the room. "He isn't looking. Let's get this
over with. What do you want to show me?"
The brown man took off his wrist-watch and pried up the
metal case. Two small, glossy photograph prints slid out. The
brown man separated them with a finger.
"I just want to make sure of something," he said. "First-
why did you pick me out? Quite a while ago, you said you'd
been trailing me all day, making sure. I haven't forgotten that.
110 MY BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORY
And you knew I was a reporter. Suppose you tell me the
Squirming on his stool, Lyman scowled. "It was the way
you looked at things," he murmured. "On the subway this
morning— I'd never seen you before in my life, but I kept
noticing the way you looked at things— the wrong things,
things that weren't there, the way a cat does— and then you'd
always look away— I got the idea you could see the Martians
Go on," the brown man said quietly.
I followed you. All day. I kept hoping you'd turn out to
be— somebody I could talk to. Because if I could know that I
wasn't the only one who could see them, then I'd know there
was still some hope left. It's been worse than solitary confine-
ment. I've been able to see them for three years now. Three
years. And I've managed to keep my power a secret even from
them. And, somehow, I've managed to keep from killing my-
"Three years?" the brown man said. He shivered.
"There was always a little hope. I knew nobody would be-
lieve—not without proof. And how can you get proof? It was
only that I— I kept telling myself that maybe you could see
them too, and if you could, maybe there were others— lots of
others— enough so we might get together and work out some
way of proving to the world—"
The brown man's fingers were moving. In silence he
pushed a photograph across the mahogany. Lyman picked it
"Moonlight?" he asked after a moment. It was a landscape
under a deep, dark sky with white clouds in it. Trees stood
white and lacy against the darkness. The grass was white as
if with moonlight, and the shadows blurry.
"No, not moonlight," the brown man said. "Infra-red. I'm
strictly an amateur, but lately I've been experimenting with
infrared film. And I got some very odd results."
Lyman stared at the film.
"You see, I five near—" The brown man's finger tapped a
certain quite common object that appeared in the photo-
don't LOOK NOW 111
graph, "—and something funny keeps showing up now and
then against it. But only with infra-red film. Now I know
chlorophyll reflects so much infra-red light that grass and
leaves photograph white. The sky comes out black, like this.
There are tricks to using this kind of film. Photograph a tree
against a cloud, and you can t tell them apart in the print.
But you can photograph through a haze and pick out distant
objects the ordinary film wouldn't catch. And sometimes,
when you focus on something like this—" He tapped the
image of the very common object again. "You get a very odd
image on the film. Like that. A man with three eyes."
Lyman held the print up to the light. In silence he took the
other one from the bar and studied it. When he laid them
down he was smiling.
"You know," Lyman said in a conversational whisper, "a
professor of astrophysics at one of the more important uni-
versities had a very interesting little item in the Times the
other Sunday. Name of Spitzer, I think. He said that, if there
were life on Mars, and if Martians had ever visited earth,
there'd be no way to prove it. Nobody would believe the few
men who saw them. Not, he said, unless the Martians hap-
pened to be photographed. ..."
Lyman looked at the brown man thoughtfully.
"Well," he said, "it's happened. You've photographed
The brown man nodded. He took up the prints and re-
turned them to his watch-case. "I thought so, too. Only until
tonight I couldn't be sure. I'd never seen one— fully— as you
have. It isn't so much a matter of what you call getting your
brain scrambled with supersonics as it is of just knowing
where to look. But I've been seeing part of them all my life,
and so has everybody. It's that little suggestion of movement
you never catch except just at the edge of your vision, just
out of the corner of your eye. Something that's almost the:
and when you look fully at it, there's nothing. These photo-
graphs showed me the way. It's not easy to learn, but it can
be done. We're conditioned to look directly at a thing— the
particular thing we want to see clearly, whatever it is. Perhaps
112 MY BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORY
the Martians gave us that conditioning. When we see a move-
ment at the edge of our range of vision, it's almost irresistible
not to look directly at it. So it vanishes."
"Then they can be seen— by anybody?"
"I've learned a lot in a few days," the brown man said.
"Since I took those photographs. You have to train yourself.
It's like seeing a trick picture— one that's really a composite,
after you study it. Camouflage. You Just have to learn how.
Otherwise we can look at them all our lives and never see
"The camera does, though."
"Yes, the camera does. I've wondered why nobody ever
caught them this way before. Once you see them on film,
they're unmistakable— that third eye."
"Infra-red film's comparatively new, isn't it? And then I'll
bet you have to catch them against that one particular back-
ground—you know— or they won't show on the film. Like trees
against, clouds. It's tricky. You must have had just the right
lighting that day, and exactly the right focus, and the lens
stopped down just right. A kind of minor miracle. It might
never happen again exactly that way. But . . . don't look
They were silent. Furtively, they watched the mirror. Their
eyes slid along toward the open door of the tavern.
And then there was a long, breathless silence.
"He looked back at us," Lyman said very quietly. "He
looked at us . . . that third eye!"
The brown man was motionless again. When he moved, it
was to swallow the rest of his drink.
"I don't think that they're suspicious yet," he said. "The
trick will be to keep under cover until we can blow this thing
wide open. There's got to be some way to do it— some way
that will convince people."
"There's proof. The photographs. A competent cameraman
ought to be able to figure out just how you caught that Mar-
tian on film and duplicate the conditions. It's evidence."
"Evidence can cut both ways," the brown man said. "What
I'm hoping is that the Martians don't really like to kill— unless
don't look now
they have to. I'm hoping they won't kill without proof. But-
He tapped his wrist-watch.
"There's two of us now, though," Lyman said. "We've got
to stick together. Both of us have broken the big rule— don't
The bartender was at the back, disconnecting the juke-box.
The brown man said, "We'd better not be seen together un-
necessarily. But if we both come to this bar tomorrow night at
nine for a drink— that wouldn't look suspicious, even to them."
"Suppose—" Lyman hesitated. "May I have one of those
"If one of us had— an accident— the other one would still
have the proof. Enough, maybe, to convince the right people."
The brown man hesitated, nodded shortly, and opened his
watch-case again. He gave Lyman one of the pictures.
"Hide it," he said. "It's— evidence. I'll see you here tomor-
row. Meanwhile, be careful. Remember to play safe."
They shook hands firmly, facing each other in an endless
second of final, decisive silence. Then the brown man turned
abruptly and walked out of the bar.
Lyman sat there. Between two wrinkles in his forehead
there was a stir and a flicker of lashes unfurling. The third
eye opened slowly and looked after the brown man.